Dear Legions of Fans and Fans in the Closet,
This is your beloved T.P. Fierce. I always do things fanatically, emphatically, and fantastically, so I decided to write you a letter – not necessarily four pages like Aaliyah, mind you, because I’m not a copycat. After many years of searching for my inner diva, I feel I’ve covered the scope of the black woman experience. I’ve worn a dress and a girdle. That about sums it up. Now it’s time to search for my inner nigga. I know he’s in there somewhere. And I wanted to do it with some sass on the silver, er, platinum screen. My latest and perhaps greatest project – after all, I AM T.P. Fierce – is a Hip Hop love story. So with a do-rag and a champagne flute full of a 40 on deck I began to pen For Dope Boys Shufflin’ in the Trap but Aren’t Too Menacing to Society to Talk to Jesus. I needed to summon my inner grit, so I put on some of the hardest music I know – Prince, Tiye Tribbet, and Souljah Boy. A feat of magnanimous proportions, I prayed about it and was given the green light by the HIGHEST producer, Jesus Christ and Oprah Winfrey. Without them, I wouldn’t be nothing.
As the portal of blackness to mainstream white America, this was a natural progression for me. I’ve always found the Hip Hop narrative surrounding black folks static and outdated. Why should we have to venture to the early 1990s to get an understanding of the richness of the hood experience? I could never see myself in those films. I wasn’t from the west coast. I went to church. And I loved Gospel. But T.P. Fierce is all about progression, so now it’s time for me to manhandle my interests so they merge with the popularity of Hip Hop Culture.
Here’s the plot (fabulous, I know):
Abel, a struggling gospel rapper, is pursuing the black American dream of Hip Hop superstardom. By his side is Girl Broken, a young black woman who really wants to star in Gospel rap videos and write a self help book on esteem for young black teenage girls. Abel is the first man to ever treat Girl Broken right and look past her issues of abuse and neglect. After a chance viewing of his freestyle “Cain Ain’t Abel” on Globalstar by talent scout Bush Kennedy, Abel records his track for T.F. OH! Records. Meanwhile, Abel’s dope boy brother Cain hears the “diss track” on the radio and plots revenge. After all, Abel is the reason Cain traps in the first place, a way to conceal that deep, dark, secret that makes Cain feel he’s less of a man.
Abel’s breakout success continued to mount, releasing top ten singles “Black and Yellow Cardigan in the Hood” and “The Hood Needs Jesus Love Too.” Abel, however, is troubled because he wants to stay true to the inner city and make a better life for himself and Girl Broken. Abel’s best friend and prayer partner Inconspicuous urges him to stay true to himself and his background. Abel makes the ultimate choice after a confrontation with Cain during his album release party. Cain, apologetic for his actions, releases his own single, “My Bad, It’s Society’s Fault.” He goes multi-platinum but falls to the temptations of the world and ends up back in the trap.
For Dope Boys Shufflin’ takes a look at the black man in today’s Hip Hop culture. I make sure I cover all the archetypes: the thug, his brother the light-skinnted blue collar working man in search of a rap dream who saves strippers from themselves with love ballads, and the underground Black Nationalist. I want this movie to show the dire situations of black men in Hip Hop and how easily they are tempted by capitalism and other ways of the world.Yes, Cain and Abel are taken from the Bible but their story is timeless. How far does one go in order to be successful? Are black men islands and not their brother’s keepers?
While there are a few white folks sprinkled throughout the plot – after all, T.P. Fierce is an equal opportunity hater, er, employer – this is done purposefully. Hip Hop is colorblind but not blind to color.
White folks are an invisible force. They demand a certain representation of blackness in America and we supply it. As an Oprah approved portal of blackness, my name associated with Hip Hop makes it even more accessible to a majority audience. In other words, white folks got my back. Who gon’ check me, boo?
Fear not, you black essentialists and Hip Hop purists. I understand Hip Hop’s allegiance to the hood. And their allegiance to the swag and money. Think of For Dope Boys Shufflin’ as the next wave of Hip Hop cultural expression. I’m making the hood fetish accessible in a powerful way. This is not a gentrified move. Rather, I intend to make the black experience more suburban polite.
For Dope Boys Shufflin’ wraps filming in the next few weeks. It will hit theatres this summer but not before a made-for-television version shows on BET every other day. Take care of yourselves.